Jetstar Hong Kong applies for air operator's certificate

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Jetstar Hong Kong has applied to Hong Kong's civil aviation department for an air operator's certificate (AOC).

The application puts the carrier on track to start operations in 2013, subject to regulatory approval. It also commits the carrier to meeting regulatory requirements such as having its principle place of business and making major business decisions in Hong Kong.

An operational blueprint, which details how the carrier will manage its engineering, ground operations, fleet and crew planning, has also been lodged with the department.

A project team has since been assembled and key appointments including a Hong Kong chief executive, chief pilot and head of engineering will be announced shortly, says the low-cost carrier.

The carrier will start operations with three Airbus A320 aircraft and aims to expand its fleet to 18 aircraft by 2015. It will also start recruiting up to 100 pilots and cabin crew in the coming months.

Jetstar Hong Kong is a joint venture between Qantas Airways - through its subsidiary Jetstar - and China Eastern Airlines. The two carriers will invest a combined total of $198 million into the joint venture, with each holding a 50% share.

"From our experience in other markets like Japan, Singapore and Australia we know that introducing sustainably low fares means people travel more places, more often," says Jetstar Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.

China Eastern had previously said that the LCC is eyeing a 7% market share by 2015.

Hong Kong, an aviation hub through which about 40 million passengers travel each year, has a population base of around 7 million. Greater China, meanwhile, has a travel market of almost 300 million passengers per annum, a number which is expected to grow to 450 million by 2015.